Unstructured Space

Photo by Daiga Ellaby

Last week we had 20 super sharp youth workers at Fuller in Pasadena for a Sticky Faith Summit.  The summit revolved around the Hurt research of my friend and colleague, Dr. Chap Clark, as well as our College Transition Project.

Ken Knipp is the V.P. for Training with Young Life and a member of our FYI Advisory Council.  He said something during our summit that impacted me both as a parent and a youth worker.

One of our findings is that there is a relationship between kids having the chance to express and explore their doubt in high school and higher faith maturity in college.  We were talking about how to help parents give space for their kids to express doubt and Ken said, “I really think a key element is that families enjoy unstructured time together.”  He reasoned that families that knew how to just be together would eventually be safe places for honest dialogue.

I don’t know of many families that enjoy time together, let alone unstructured time together.  Even tonight we have a free night and I’ve started thinking to myself:  should we take a walk as a family?  Or play games together?  Or read in bed?

I’ve decided NOT to structure our time tonight ahead of time.  I want to enjoy unstructured time with my own kids.